from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Done (as bowling or pitching) with the arm raised above the shoulder. See overhard.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In cricket, delivered with the arm above the shoulder; overhand.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. with hand brought forward and down from above shoulder level
Sorry, no etymologies found.
An eight-foot spear is turned into a four-foot spear if it is held over-arm.
To deploy a spear over-arm, a man has to throw the spear upwards, quickly get his arm underneath it, and catch it again (unless he was holding it upside down, with the butt spike in the air, but this is never pictured, and would mean that the main spearhead would get blunted on hard ground).
With over-arm use, his neighbours are possibly within reach.
Anyone standing behind an over-arm spearman will be faced with a butt-spike going in and out at every thrust, and unpredictably sideways whenever an enemy knocks the spearhead.
This makes sense if the spear is being used under-arm, since it means that the shield does not get in the way of the spear so much, but is bafflingly daft if the spear is used over-arm, because it would serve simply to further expose the wielder.
With the over-arm hold, the spear is held in the centre.
If an enemy spearman to the right of the over-arm user saw the thrust coming, he would have an easy victim: a man who has stepped with his weight onto his front foot (thus preventing any evasion by footwork) with an exposed shieldless side.
However, if he had the time and the space, and was going to ditch his spear anyway, in favour of a sword or axe or knife, then he might very well throw his spear, and this would be far more effective over-arm.
There is one instance in which an over-arm use is better than an under-arm use.
An over-arm spearman has to wait for his moment and then commit himself.